👋 Oi, mga repapips, Brian Dys here! I love music, photography, and creative stuff like UX design and art. This is a place where I collect my thoughts and works. Apart all these, I’m Jaycelle’s better half and Bryce’s dad. 🥰
Jaycelle requested me to change the color of her blouse from red to mustard. It’s easy with an app, that’s true. However, before all those algorithms and automations, there was a semi-manual way of doing it — using selective colors in Photoshop.
Music: Tweakers by Brian Dys
Got a scanned or photographed signature with a messy background? Here’s an easy way of enhancing it to be in PNG with a transparent background.
In Adobe Photoshop:
- Resize the long side of the image to 1920px or higher
- Image → Adjustments → Threshold
- Select black-only via Alpha Channel
- Make BG transparent and save as PNG
Music: Scrap by Brian Dys
Recently, I hopped on to Spotify as an artist. I released several electronica singles under the label Weet Weew. The experience was liberating in the sense that I’ve been putting it off for quite some time and finally got to grapple with it. I got to revisit some old compositions and reacquainted with a DAW (digital audio workstation) of choice: FruityLoops.
Preparing for a (rather bleak) future when crazed fans would ask me for autographs, I thought I needed to have one. So I practiced using a big round-tip marker and settled with a 0.6 mm-tip pen.
With a trusty scanner, I scanned it with a resolution of 600 to be able to “blow it up” and properly enhance it. From Photoshop to Illustrator to Figma to its destination, Spotify — it took me around an hour to do all this.
We’re using Adobe Photoshop to prepare the material for vectorization in Illustrator.
- File → Open
To open the material
- Image → Adjustments → Desaturate
To convert it to grayscale
- Image → Auto Contrast
To make the paper whiter and ink blacker
- Image → Adjustments → Threshold
To convert the paper to pure white and ink to pure black; yes it will pixelate, that’s why it’s important to have a high resolution material; some areas might be lost, so you might be working on several layers with different threshold amounts
- Window → Channels
Copy and paste the artwork into an alpha channel and select it (it will select the white part, so, invert the selection to select the black part)
- Window → Layers
Go back to the layer while the selection is active
- Layer → New → Layer Via Copy
To copy and paste the black part into a new layer
- Layer → Delete → Layer
Select the original layer and delete it
- Manual Adjustments
Now you have a line art (with transparent background) that is fairly easy to adjust — like if you need to extend or erase some parts
- File → Save → .PSD
Save the file as Photoshop file
We’re using Adobe Illustrator to convert the prepared material into vector. Sure, from the scanned material we can go straight here — I personally see the result is better when we prepare the material prior vectorization.
- File → Open
To open the .psd file
- Photoshop Import Options dialog → Convert Layer to Objects
To keep the layers (if any) in the material
- Select the Object
To select the particular layer we will vectorize
- Window → Image Trace
To customize settings for vectorization
- Object → Image Trace → Expand
To vectorize the object and see its layers
- Manual Adjustments
Now you have vector objects — remove any unwanted layers like solid backgrounds (to make the background transparent); also prepare for the desired artwork and artboard size
- File → Export → Export As → .SVG → Use Artboards
Save the file as Scalable Vector Graphics file; for handwritten signatures in particular, the default setting for SVG Options will do (it’s a different case when you have images and fonts in your material)
Figma is awesome because you can use it for free and it is web-based (use it alongside Facebook on the other tab of your favorite web browser). Really, this part is optional — it just so happened that my Spotify header image template is conveniently in Figma (you can use Photoshop or Illustor, too).
Right after I uploaded my updated header image to Spotify, I turned to see that my notebook has grown itself some robot doodles, courtesy of Bryce. Consequently, I asked him if we would like to color it in Photoshop and that lit up his face!
Since Jaycelle is joining the Curlfriend Ambassadors, might as well try to recreate Headshot Clinic’s design for #curlsbyzenutrients.
It’s been a long way since Photoshop 4 – eighteen (18) years and we’re now in the Cloud. Could it be any punnier that it was built from the ground “up”?
This Internet Thing
’96 – I was in high school – clueless as to what the coolest nickname was for an e-mail address because what’s e-mail? We were only using the PeeCee to research on the Encarta CD. It was the same year I left alone the 20-volume encyclopedia and 17-volume macropedia to rot in the shelf.
One very late night, I was asleep in the living room, I awoke to this weird sound – it was a robotic android-y sound coming from the computer area. Brushing my eyes from the slumber, I saw my brother in the dark with his face lit by the 15-inch monitor. I asked him what’s that I heard.
“I’m surfing the internet,” he said it like he couldn’t be bothered.
“Surfing? Internet? Can I watch?” Thought it was a new game he’s got there. Then maybe, just maybe he switched windows to Yahoo! Directories from whatever he’s doing.
And that was the end of the Encarta CD.
Surfing Sounds So Cool
You see, surfing the ‘net is quite easy to learn – with all those underlined links and animated GIFs – pure fun in digital form. I waited for my turn every after midnight to connect to the internet with anticipation – that distinct sound of the 56k modem (which is now my ring tone) successfully taking you into another dimension – it’s my Pavlov’s bell.
And so I found another reason to use the computer – to collect pictures of my favorite band of all time, Oasis.
And Graphic Design!
I’ve exhausted my “research” and “data-gathering” on Oasis and it left me with buttloads of band pictures. Then, just like how curiosity killed the cat, I wondered if I could “extend” a cut picture of Liam Gallagher’s shirt.
Going past through Notepad, FreeCell, Solitaire, and Minesweeper, I found my way to this piece of software which I tried to tame at least once in my life. It’s called MS Paint. It was a pain to manually copy-and-paste similarly-looking pixels to form an extension of the shirt. But hey, this was no the Photoshop before I knew it existed but it did what I wanted – a pop-out Liam Gallagher.
“Enter” Adobe Photoshop 4
Adobe Photoshop, you were a mere proper noun and a software with the coolest splash image – congratulations you’ve already been verbalized. I’ve seen you in your Undo/Redo ability until your History capability.
It sounded funny – the word “Adobe” – while I pictured an orange-y block of stone. And that nearly hindered me from getting interested in launching the program. “Photoshop” – it was just a place where you go to develop and print photos. No big deal.
I wondered if it could take the pain MS Paint gave me. I launched the program and thought to replicate what I did in MS Paint – just click “File > Open…” and find whatever picture was lying on the Desktop. Or in the bowels of a 100-folder directory.
Long story short, I found my brother’s pr0n stash.
And that’s the beginning of the tale of a wide-eyed pimply teenager in front of a computer about to uncover life’s biggest secrets.
Photoshop and Boobies
I opened one file from the stash.
Why not the same picture of Oasis? You might ask. My reasons, my disposition at that time – I could not recall. But I remember I was happy, a determined person.
The picture made me forget about my original plan – to extend Liam’s clothes, remember? Ironically, there it was – a picture of a flawlessly naked woman in front of me. I was being challenged to erase some itsy-bitsy body parts.
And so I clone stamped it out.
Alt+click-release + click, alt+click-release + click, alt+click-release + click. And more alt+click-release + click.
Done. It’s not a work of art – but this accomplishment, like how the internet dawned on me, opened a new dimension – a world of possibilities what could be done to, say, a landscape picture or even a blank canvas!
And so they say, “curiosity killed the cat but satisfaction brought it back.” Only to get curious again.